Travis Baptiste soars for the rim pursued by Damon Mello. Sandy Fisher senses what is to come. It took seven players to mop up the blood that spurted from Sandy's forehead. Photos by Ralph Stewart
Ssssteam Heat ssssizzles
The Heat lost their captain and three-point specialist, Sandy Fisher after he collided with Travis Baptiste at the end of the first quarter, and they finished the period 15 points down, 22-37.
Sandy was taken immediately to the hospital, where he required a dozen staples in his forehead to control the bleeding. Travis wrapped his jaw to resemble an old cartoon of someone with a toothache. As a matter of fact his teeth did ache and his jaw required stitches, but Travis continued his board-crashing, coast-to-coast dashing style of play 'til the end of the game.
After the first 12 minutes the Celts led, 35-22. At the half, they held a commanding 20 point lead, 57-37, and increased that to 25 early in the third period. But that was their high water mark, and at the end of the quarter the Heat had reduced the lead to 10, 68-78.
Jason Dyer shoots over Matt Rivers.
The Warm Ones continued to apply the heat in the fourth quarter. Jason Dyer put up a deuce, and Nick Viera hit one from down town and three more from the foul line. Nick Cruz sank a 20 footer to even the count. A trey by Viera claimed the lead four minutes into the period. Both Clint Merrill and Nick Cruz found the net. Viera hit his third 3-pointer. Jason Dyer and Damon Mello sank two pointers, and Mello dropped two from the charity stripe.
The only Celts to score in the final five minutes were Matt Rivers (2) and the injured but still flying Travis Baptiste (9).
At the buzzer it was the Heat, 96, the Celtics 90 in the most exciting come-from-behind rally in recent memory.
Twin column scorers for the Heat: Viera 27, Mello 25 and Clay Merrill 11. Vick Cruz claimed 15 rebounds.
Leading Celt scorers: Baptiste 22, Matt Rivers 16, James Holenko 15, Adam Rebello 13, and Keith Crossland 11.
Lakers hang on
To say that the Lakers could not shake the Legends would be to understate the case. The Legends grabbed a lead in the final minutes of the second period to be up at the half, 57-53.They held an edge in the third quarter to reach the final 12 minutes with a single point advantage, 72-71. The lead changed hands eleven times in the fourth quarter. When the buzzer sounded, the Lakers were ahead, 93-91.
Captain Heath Estrella led the Lakers with 20 points. Brian Scott had 15, Caleb Nicholson 12, all from downtown, and Karl Kallinich 11.
Asil Cash's 25 was high for the Legends. Dillon Osleeb (12), Julius Middleton (15) and Mike McCormick (17) were also productive.
Next Monday the best two of three playoffs resumes. The early (6:15) game will be another Celtics vs. Heat rumble. The Lakers and Legends go back at it at 8 pm.
Girls limber up under the watchful eye of lacrosse coach Betsy Dripps.
Spring sports: lacrosse
The calendar reads spring, but the temperature and wind say winter, "Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone."
But lacrosse, a spring sport on the Vineyard, was clearly visible at the high school with veteran coach Betsy Dripps overseeing the girls team and first year varsity coach John Stabile calling shots for the boys.
Nine girls return to play varsity with 18 freshmen, most of whom are graduates of youth lacrosse.
Amanda Cavanaugh and Alaina Aristide are co-captains. Juniors Jane Alexander, Rachael Schubert, Emily Carter, Sarah and Nica Sylvia will be asked to step up their games along with returning sophomores Zoe Fisher, Laura Jernegan, and Christina Wiley.
The team will again play in the Maritime League, in which they placed second to Dartmouth last year. They will scrimmage with Derryfield of New Hampshire, March 29, and host England's Estonbirt on April 4.The season opener is April 5 at home with Dartmouth.
Boys do laps for lacrosse coach Stabile.
Head coach Betsy Dripps is helped by Kim D'Arcy, JV coach Donna Nagle, and goalie coach Lang Clarke.
The boys' season opener is March 31, at home versus Mashpee. Franklin has been added to the schedule. North Arlington and Austin Prep are removed.
Head coach Stabile has a number of slots to fill, most notably Edison Parzanese's. Last year, when Edison was sidelined for four games, the Vineyard lost all four and finished with a 12-6 record.
A Division One school, Barnstable, has been added to the league and Nantucket will be hard to beat.
Coach Stabile will be helped by coaches Tom Pierce, Bill Seaborn, Dave Bettencourt, and Lang Clarke.
Team Captains are Taylor Pierce, Tyler Hathaway, and Mike Levesqie.
Team Cape Cod Black Dog, in January, after winning a tournament in Walpole. Photos courtesy of Sue Mead
Local women take the Black Dog national
The Black Dog logo is one of the Vineyard's most recognizable retail symbols. Now the simple profile of Black Dog owner Capt. Robert S. Douglas's compact, Labrador-like canine companion, will be featured on the front of hockey jerseys worn by 15 women, some taking advantage of their late competitive years, skating for a national title in San Jose, Calif. The Cape Cod Black Dog, based in Falmouth, will represent Massachusetts in the Women's 2007 USA Hockey Division C National Championships later this month.
Despite brandishing the Island emblem, team Black Dog only has one player from Martha's Vineyard. Sue Mead, one of two goalies for the team, also runs the paint store at Hinckley's Hardware in Vineyard Haven. Ms. Mead has been playing hockey for over thirty years.
The National Championships, played at Logitech Ice, a 170,000-square-foot facility with four NHL-sized rinks, run from March 23 to 25. Women's teams are split into three divisions. Team Black Dog is competing in the C division, which means each player must be at least 15 years past their last year of college competition. The team, coached by Don Smith, will face competition from New York, Utah, Seattle, and Tampa Bay, among others.
Sue Mead, surrounded by teammates, was ready to protect the goal in a game in Marlboro last month.
"I think it's going to be exciting," Ms. Mead said in a recent interview. "Paula wanted to put together a team that was fun, competitive, and the goal was to go the Nationals. So we've reached our goal."
Paula Casey, a real estate broker in Sandwich and team member, formed team Black Dog last June. They secured the Island company as their sponsor and had the recognizable logo emblazoned on home and away jerseys and jackets.
Most of the women, ranging in age from 36 to 52, play for either the Cape Cod Women's Hockey League (CCWHL) or the South Shore Women's Hockey League (SSWHL). The team is made up of, among others, a teacher, an electrician, a stay-at-home mom, a marine geologist, a corrections officer, and several former college hockey players.
"We've all played together at one point or another, so we all know each other," Ms. Mead said of the players. "There aren't any real egos on the team. They're all really caring, which makes a huge difference in any team sport."
In order to qualify for the Nationals, team Black Dog had to play 14 games together and then compete in a final playoff contest. Two other teams were vying to represent the state. Of those 14 games played over the last six months, some of which were against teams from Walpole, Vermont, and Nantucket, the team has won all but one, which they tied.
"We've had a great ride, because every tournament we've been to we won. And I've never been on any team, I don't care what sport I played, that's ever done that," Ms. Mead said. "It's pretty impressive."
Growing up in Lincoln, Ms. Mead said she was an athletic child, and started playing hockey with the Assabet Valley Girls Ice Hockey league when she was 12. She continued to play hockey after transferring to the Pomfret School, a private boarding school in Connecticut.
As a sophomore in high school, Ms. Mead got her first taste of being inside the goal, after being asked by Joe Bertagna to play for Harvard University, which had a club team at the time and could use non-Harvard players. Mr. Bertagna spent seven seasons as the goalie coach for the Boston Bruins, and heads a Massachusetts-based goalie school. Ms. Mead learned the position from him and has never left her place in the goal.
While tending goal was what drew Ms. Mead into hockey, it was the camaraderie among players and their dedication that kept her in the sport. After a brief stint at a New England college, Ms. Mead returned to the Vineyard, where her family has had ties for generations. She immediately began working at the paint store, and has been at Hinckley's for nearly 15 years.
Ms. Mead has played with the Martha's Vineyard men's league since 1990, and played in the CCWHL from 1997-2003. The CCWHL, a league that welcomes women of all ages and skill levels, plays on Saturday nights in Falmouth. The league's schedule, compounded with the Steamship Authority schedule, forced Ms. Mead to spend Saturday nights in Falmouth - something she did every weekend for five years.
"I had my own little closet in my friend's house in Mashpee," she said. "If the ferry ran at like two in the morning to bring me back, it would be perfect. It kind of kills your weekend."
Despite discontinuing play in Falmouth, Ms. Mead has kept playing for the Island men's league and has dabbled in coaching. But at 44, she said her body isn't able to handle the rough and tumble sport like it used to.
"Now that I'm in my 40's, it's like three days later and I'll say, Jesus, what did I do?" she said with a chuckle, referring to muscle pain and soreness. "I throw out my knees about every three or four years, and have had a cracked jaw a couple of times. Nothing really major, not life threatening."
Ms. Mead has played in the National Championships before, in 1977 and 1978, but said women's hockey has changed significantly in that time.
"Now women's hockey is an Olympic sport, but back in the 70's you didn't really admit to some people that you played girls hockey," Ms. Mead said. "It's a neat fraternity, and I'm not sure if other sports have it, because hockey takes a lot of dedication as far as time spent and money spent and weird practice and game times."
While she said she is not sure what is in store for team Black Dog at the Nationals, Ms. Mead said the team has a good shot. They have even given themselves dog names, such as Astro - the Jetson's dog - and Snoop Dog. Ms. Mead is nicknamed Bullet - from the Roy Rogers show.
"The nationals, yeah it's a great thing to go to and everything, but there's no money in it, in fact it's costing us a fortune," she said. "It's not like there are scouts in the stands and somebody's going to give us a big fat contact after. You go out there and have fun, and go out and have a bunch of beers afterwards."